JOHN’S JOURNAL

The Beautiful Lilacs Appear

It’s a time of year when so many things are bursting into life and flowers are appearing all around us along with delightful fragrances, and when you think of fragrant flowers there is one that always springs to mind and that is the Lilacs. Such a delightful plant and easily nestled into many gardens either as feature specimens or sitting behind other plants in the border, they are very unique and also so easy to grow,

At the nursery we grow a few different varieties ranging in colours from soft purples, to whites and all shades of pink. They are a shrub and generally grow between 2-4m tall depending on variety and there is also a delightful miniature variety called Syringa ‘Palabin’. Perfect for attracting Spring pollinators and if any varieties get too tall don’t worry as they tolerate being hard pruned as well, so happily prune them hard back after the flower and they will send new shoots up from lower down.

With their masses of cloud shaped flowers they make perfect stems for foraging to include in vase displays around the house where their perfume will travel through your rooms. You can also dry the flowers when they have finished and even make wine from them! Worth looking into if you’re after a bit of a project

Always make sure to give them a good feed in the Spring as their blooms are produced at the end of the Summer, Vitax Q4 is the perfect choice and just a handful round the base in April or May will help give them the energy to produce stunning displays the following year. You can also happily grow them in pots as some are available as ‘standards’, where they have a short straight stem with the growth forming as a bush on a stem, perfect for underplanting or positioning either side of an opening or some steps, positioned somewhere where you can appreciate their fragrance! 

At the nursery this weekend we are welcoming a host of Artisans to Holden Clough for our second Spring market which we have called ‘Lilac’, held under the Oak Pergola and The Living Roof it’s a great chance to not only enjoy the nursery but discover what all the makers have been busy making, and with some fine weather forecast on the way for Saturday and Sunday it will be a delight once again.

Next week we will look at another ‘Lilac’ in the form of Californian Lilac, Ceanothus are the perfect evergreen climbers for a sunny wall and they are also about to burst into bloom with their unique clouds of blue flowers!

 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Here you can send in and find out the answers to those gardening problems

Do I go back to buds when I prune Lilacs?

No, when you hard prune them you simply go down to above a stem joint, the formant buds will then shoot out with new growth, and if done after flowering and if they are also fed they will then bear masses of flowers the following year, pruning helps remove bare stems from lower down, but you can also leave them unpruned so they appear above other neighbouring plants

What soil would I pot up a Lilac into?

They thrive in a soil based compost so use a John Innes No.3 and then also feed annually with Vitax Q4 in the Spring. John Innes Soil based compost has the ability to hold nutrients and also water better than other compost helping keep them happy in the long run.

Where is the best place to plant a Lilac?

They thrive in Sunshine so pick a sunny position in a general soil, you can open up clay soil by adding rotted organic matter like spent mushroom compost, rotted manure or compost off the compost heap. Just make sure it doesn’t get waterlogged in the winter that’s the only 2 requirements, sun and drainage.

 

JOBS FOR THE WEEKEND

Plant of The Week

Syringa ‘Michael Buchner’

A beautiful variety producing masses of typical lilac coloured flowers in a soft mauve colour. Growing to 4m tall and 3m wide it’s a great larger variety and has a very free flowering habit. Lilacs are also tolerant of windswept positions also in coastal environments!